Former Kentucky Wildcats star and Detroit Pistons NBA Champion Tayshaun Prince visited the Lexington Legends the Low-A South Atlantic League affiliate of the Houston Astros on fan appreciation night this past Friday. Among his duties was throwing out the first pitch between the Lexington Legends and Savannah Sand Gnats game. After much theatrics on the mound, Prince fired a fastball straight into the ground. Forward to the 2:40 mark of the video below to see the pitch.
The Houston Astros have acquired Phillies outfield prospect Domingo Santana as the player to be named later in the Hunter Pence deal. Santana is currently hitting .269 with 29(2B), 4(3B), 7HR, and 32RBI for the Low-A Lakewood BlueClaws. In 2010 he hit a combined .211 with 19 Doubles and 8 Home Runs in a season split between Lakewood and the Short-A Williamsport Crosscutters. The recently turned 19 year old is one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League. Santana was signed by the Phillies as a non drafted free agent in 2009 out of the Dominican Republic.
On the heels of trading Hunter Pence to the Phillies, the Houston Astros have reportedly called up top outfield prospect J.D. Martinez to replace him. The 23 year old is in the middle of a very solid year batting .340 with 25 Doubles, 13 Home Runs, and 71 RBI’s for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks. Martinez was a breakout star in the South Atlantic League for the Lexington Legends in 2010 batting .362 with 31 Doubles and 15 Home Runs in 88 games before a mid season promotion to the Double-A Texas League where he hit .302 over the final 50 games of the season. Martinez was a 20th round pick of the Astros in the 2009 draft.
The Cincinnati Reds have traded Jonny Gomes to the Washington Nationals for Bill Rhinehart and Chris Manno. The 26 year old Rhinehart is in the middle of his 4th season at Double-A Harrisburg. He is currently having a career year hitting .289 with 17 Doubles, 21 Home Runs, and 59 RBI’s. The outfielder was a 2011 Eastern League All Star. He was an 11th round pick of the Nationals in the 2007 draft. Manno was a 26th round pick out of Duke in 2010. Since turning pro, the 6’3″ lefty has been a force out of the bullpen. This year at Low-A Hagerstown, Manno posted a 1-3 record with 12 saves in 34 appearances out of the pen. He’s struck out 69 batters and opponents are hitting a ridiculously low .135 against him. The 22 year old was a 2011 Sally League All Star.
Spending parts of four seasons in the Low-A South Atlantic League is not on the resume of most major league pitchers. Cole McCurry may soon be an exception. The 6’2″ lefty out of Tennessee Wesleyan University is on the cusp of the big leagues after a season that has taken him up the Baltimore Orioles chain from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk in what has been a breakout 2011. Prior to this season, McCurry spent all or parts of the 2007, 2008. 2009, and 2010 season as a starter at Low-A Delmarva and High-A Frederick. This year, the addition of a slider, and a move to the bullpen, has opposing batters hitting just .180 off of McCurry who is a combined 6-1 with a 1.41ERA. In the story McCurry talks about his sudden success, the development of his slider, and keeping a level head as he positions himself for a shot with the Orioles. You can follow Cole on twitter @ColeMcCurry
Cole McCurry’s newest pitch turns heads — Citizen-Times.com
In depth story celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1961 South Atlantic League All Star Game that would produce an eventual 17 major league players including Hall of Famer Willie Stargell. The game was held in Asheville, North Carolina and featured the 1st place Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate the Asheville Tourists against the Sally League All Stars consisting of the best players off the remaining teams in the league. Players and fans who were at the game talk about the baseball greatness that was on the field and the huge crowd that watched them on that day in July 50 years ago. Great read for the minor league baseball history buff.
A classic all-star lineup played in Asheville 50 years ago — TownAndMountain.com